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Abstract:

Political Economy and Public Policy Paper
Women in Politics. Evidence from the Indian states
Irma Clots-Figueras
October 2005
Paper No' PEPP 14:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: D70; H19; H41; H50;O10


Tags: gender; caste; panel data; policy; india.

This paper uses panel data from the 16 main states in India during the period 1967- 1999 to study the effects of having higher female representation in the State Legislatures on public goods, policy and expenditure. I find that women legislators make different decisions than men legislators. Moreover, women elected in seats reserved for scheduled castes and tribes make different decisions compared to women elected in general seats. Scheduled caste/tribe women favour capital investments, especially on low tiers of education and irrigation. They also favour “women-friendly” laws, such as amendments to the Hindu Succession Act that give women the same inheritance rights as men. In contrast, general women legislators do not have any impact on “women-friendly” laws, oppose redistributive policies such as land reforms, favour pro-rich expenditure and invest in high tiers of education.